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TV Review: Good Omens

22 June 19 words: Miriam Blakemore-Hoy

After several unsuccessful attempts to bring Terry Pratchett's book to the screen - including a late 90s version starring Robin Williams and Johnny Depp - Good Omens has finally been made into a mini-series...

Creators: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

Starring: David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Frances McDormand

If you haven’t heard of Good Omens, where have you been?  The series dropped on Amazon Prime on 31 May but it’s been a few years in the making. Acclaimed fantasy/sci-fi writers, Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, originally wrote the book that the series is based on back in the early 90s. Since then it’s gathered a very loyal following. Apparently, before he died, Terry discussed the possibility of adapting their book to television with Neil and this discussion became a late request of sorts.  After Terry’s passing, it was Neil’s mission to fulfil his friend’s wishes, as he himself said “…losing four years of my life to it.”

So it comes built on quite a solid foundation. But to be honest, you don’t need to know any of this before watching the series.  You can dive straight into it with no prior knowledge at all, because there is a delightful narrator, Frances McDormand, playing God (literally), who guides you through the bizarre, supernatural and extremely British tale of the end of the world. This is the end of the world as foretold by the extremely accurate witch, Agnes Nutter, which is ending on Saturday, just after tea. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are on their way but somehow the anti-Christ has gone missing. Heaven and hell are hell-bent (couldn’t resist – I apologise) on war, and the only beings on earth who would really rather the end of the world didn’t happen are an angel and a demon who have been hanging around with other for so long, that despite everything, they’ve accidentally become friends.

The story seems even more relevant today than when it was written

It’s a true stroke of genius that Michael Sheen and David Tennant were cast in the roles of Aziraphale the angel and Crowley the demon, respectively. They are really a match made in heaven (I can’t help it). Tennant comes across as the ultra-swaggering rock star he always seemed born to play which is the perfect antithesis to Sheen’s delightfully plummy, book loving, wine collecting angel. Even if there were times when some of the humour didn’t quite hit its mark, whenever these two shared the screen, it was a real joy to behold. There is also a certain amount of expansion on the characters and their relationship to each other which is pretty satisfying. Of course, Jon Hamm deserves a special mention, both for his excellent angelic dress sense, and for making a jog in the park look absolutely effortless – I’ve never seen anyone pull off dove grey and white with quite so much style.

I can’t deny that for people who don’t like fantasy, this will probably not be your cup of tea.  But to those who are willing, the story seems even more relevant today than when it was written. Give it a whirl - it’s a pretty charming romp through the ridiculous nature of human beings where, despite everything, maybe we do all deserve a second chance.

Did you know? Jon Hamm and Michael Sheen have both appeared as a love interest of Liz Lemon in 30 Rock

Good Omens is available on Amazon Prime now

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